Summertime is a time of fun for many. It also is a time of tragedies. In this case, we refer to emergency room visits and fatalities associated with the hotter weather. Infants and older adults are often the ones prone to injury or death from inadequate care and precautions during hot, humid weather. Make not mistake — people of other ages can also put themselves in harm’s way.
Your body has a system of proteins that can help protect critical-function proteins within the cells of your vital organs from damage due to body overheating. These are called Heat Shock Proteins or HSPs. When your body temperature rises to around 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), some organ cells may start to malfunction. As body temperature rises to around 107 degrees F ( 42 degrees C) and stays there for a prolonged period, the situation becomes more dire. Many cells may begin to die because the excessive heat breaks down vital cell-function proteins faster than the HSP proteins can protect them. This can result in seriously reduced function in vital organs such as liver, kidney, heart and brain.
The HSP system of proteins does have limits however. It needs to be maintained through proper amounts of protein in the daily diet. One must also have a well-functioning digestive system to prepare the dietary protein for absorption as well as a daily intake of many other nutrients body cells need to manufacture the HSPs. (See the earlier June 10, 2018 blog about proteins.)
Last but not least, a friendly reminder keep your body in a balanced state of hydration. Hydrate continuously. Don’t overexert during the heat of the day. Stay in the shade or air-conditioning. (See earlier blogs on Water and Hydration written back in September, November and December 2011. ) Keep a neighborly and mindful watch on elderly neighbors and family and, of course, infants and young children.
To Your Good Health